Bali Begins in Balangan
Light floods through the windows that encase my bungalow.
Rooster crows reverberate against the glass panes.
Cattle intermittently bellow a comical tune.
His soft, steady breath beside me
dreaming beneath clouds of white sheet
lures me to linger
but adventure seduces me
far more mightily
than any man.
I emerge from my mosquito netted cocoon
and creep out my front door.
Incense wafts from the offering on my porch
its musky scent pinches me back to reality.
I am in Bali. In Balangan. In bliss.
The dirt road crumbles beneath my bare feet as I walk the deserted path to the beach.
In the distance surfers ride the early morning waves
braving the threats of sea urchins and coral reef.
I approach a modest strip of wooden huts
behind them lies garbage, chickens, and strays
beyond them an endless glittering sea.
I watch the surfers in a trance
they fearlessly face the ocean
children and novices confuse the line up
again and again they crash.
A procession ascends the mountain
Balinese clad in lace
raising parasols adorned with gold.
I follow them up steps made of stone
to the top of the cliff
what a view I behold.
The world below looks small
and vast all at once
I feel only what surrounds me
my bungalow fades from memory.
Fisherman in the distance
wave proudly holding their latest catch.
I discover a cavernous temple
hidden inside the rock.
emotions rise within me
for the blessing of my life.
At lunch I return to a beachfront wooden warung
dine on fried rice and a young coconut
instinctively sway to familiar reggae.
When the intense sun singes my first world skin
I hide in my new favorite cave
respite from other humans and UVA rays.
Yogis begin asana on the flat grass behind the beach
down dog, warriors, rise up, reach.
Shadows consume a once illuminated shore
the sky ignites
the sun silhouettes the cliff
surfers stay out wanting more.
When I reflect
on my time in Balangan
I remember these moments
where I was alone with the Bali
I always imagined in my dreams.
How to Get to Balangan
No public buses or shuttles operate down on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula so you will need to arrive by taxi, motorbike, or hired car. Always take Bluebird taxis with meters for the best rates. Balangan is about an hour from the airport and should cost less than 200,000 rupiah to reach in a taxi.
Where to Sleep in Balangan
Bungalows on the Beach
50,000 – 100,000 rupiah ($4-8)
Simple wooden bungalows and rooms are available on the beach. These accommodations are very rustic with shared bathrooms, cold water, and mosquito nets, but you will wake up to the sound of the ocean and you can’t beat the price.
250,000 rupiah ($20)
I stayed here for four nights and absolutely loved it. The bungalow was hands down the most luxurious I’ve stayed in anywhere. The bed was ultra comfortable, the room was spacious, and the bathroom had a huge hot water shower. It cost $10 per person including a breakfast of tea, juice, fruit salad, and eggs. It’s a short walk to the beach and about a ten minute motorbike ride into the town. The restaurant served tasty, inexpensive food as well.
350,000 rupiah ($30)
I have not stayed in Flowerbud Bungalows personally, but they came highly recommended by other travelers. They are on the cliff just a short distance from the beach, have hot water showers, a swimming pool, an onsite restaurant, and even a spa.
Where to Eat in Balangan
Dining in Balangan is simple with just a few local cafes on the beach. I hung out often at Froggy’s because they played the best music. Pull up somewhere, grab a bottle of Bingtang, eat a local plate of food, and listen to the ocean. What more could you need?
You can find local street food on the main street which is about a ten minute motorbike ride away. Elsewhere on the peninsula, head to Jimbaran for the best seafood in Bali or Uluwatu or Padang Padang for health cafes and Western fare.
What to Do in Balangan
Rent a board, grab some reef shoes, and ride the waves.
Tan on the golden sand shores.
Climb the cliffs for sunset views of the bay.
Enjoy the simple life.
Befriend some locals over a beer at Froggy’s.